Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has confirmed that the Xbox console will be launched as planned this autumn, along with games from 70 Japanese companies, in an attempt to bolster the device's appeal.
In his keynote address at the 2001 Spring Tokyo Game Show, Gates claimed: "With Xbox, our goal is to create the future of video gaming, and our work in Japan will play a key role in achieving that."
Sega plans to come out with 11 Xbox titles, which will include racing games such as Sega GT 2 and adventure packages such as the latest version of Panzer Dragoon. The vendor has also agreed to make some of the games available exclusively on Xbox for a limited period, although no details were available.
The agreement will provide a challenge to market leaders Sony and Nintendo in the $20bn-a-year games market, especially as Microsoft plans to spend $500m on marketing in the first 18 months of the Xbox's launch. "Even for us, that's a huge investment," Gates said.
Sega, which abandoned its Dreamcast console last month due to poor sales, said it plans to focus on developing games software for other platforms. It has been losing money and market share to Sony, which sells the PlayStation 2 console.
Last week, the Redmond giant also announced it had signed a strategic alliance with Japanese internet services company NTT Communications to build a broadband online gaming service for the Japanese market.
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